On the surface, the first five years of my life looked wonderful as I had the loving support of my parents and siblings. However, my mother’s schizophrenia affected my father, a Vietnam War veteran, who resorted to alcohol to handle the stress of caring for a mentally ill spouse. I was removed from my family and set adrift from foster home to foster home for eight years. I felt alone and confused, continually moving without a stable environment with no permanent family and no sense of security.
When thinking about the perceptions of foster care, a number of descriptors and experiences come to mind, but one in particular I wasn’t prepared for: loneliness.
It took me sometime to pick what I wanted to talk about. I think I want to talk about how foster kids have voices too!! I talked to a lot of kids in the system and it’s sad because they give up on being heard. They feel like no one has their back or is going to be there for them; they give up everything, questioning why they’re still trying.
This four letter word seems to be what everyone tends to seek but just like the formation of a pearl it's rather difficult and doesn't happen by itself. A pearl forms when an unknown irritant - usually a parasite - works its way into a clam’s mouth. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called 'nacre,' is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed. To get this pearl one must first search the very depths of the sea to retrieve it. And then wrestle ever so hard to get that clam's mouth open.